ISBN-10:
0520279980
ISBN-13:
9780520279988
Pub. Date:
10/02/2013
Publisher:
University of California Press
Stat-Spotting: A Field Guide to Identifying Dubious Data

Stat-Spotting: A Field Guide to Identifying Dubious Data

by Joel Best

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520279988
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 10/02/2013
Edition description: First Edition, Updated and Expanded
Pages: 158
Sales rank: 421,037
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Joel Best is Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. Among his many books are Flavor of the Month: Why Smart People Fall for Fads, More Damned Lies and Statistics: How Numbers Confuse Public Issues, and Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists, all from UC Press.

Table of Contents

PREFACE TO THE 2013 EDITION

PART 1. GETTING STARTED

A. SPOTTING QUESTIONABLE NUMBERS

B. BACKGROUND

B.1 Statistical Benchmarks

B.2 Severity and Frequency

PART 2. VARIETIES OF DUBIOUS DATA

C. BLUNDERS

C.1 The Slippery Decimal Point

C.2 Botched Translations

C.3 Misleading Graphs

C.4 Careless Calculations

D. SOURCES: WHO COUNTED–AND WHY?

D.1 Big Round Numbers

D.2 Hyperbole

D.3 Shocking Claims

D.4 Naming the Problem

E. DEFINITIONS: WHAT DID THEY COUNT?

E.1 Broad Definitions

E.2 Expanding Definitions

E.3 Changing Definitions

E.4 The Uncounted

F. MEASUREMENTS: HOW DID THEY COUNT?

F.1 Creating Measures

F.2 Odd Units of Analysis

F.3 Loaded Questions

F.4 Raising the Bar

F.5 Technical Measures

G. PACKAGING: WHAT ARE THEY TELLING US?

G.1 Impressive Formats

G.2 Misleading Samples

G.3 Convenient Time Frames

G.4 Peculiar Percentages

G.5 Selective Comparisons

G.6 Statistical Milestones

G.7 Averages

G.8 Epidemics

G.9 Correlations

G.10 Discoveries

H. RHETORIC: WHAT DO THEY WANT US TO THINK?

H.1 Using Short-Term Turnover to Measure Long-Term Problems

H.2 Sudden Turns for the Worse

H.3 Designating Myths

H.4 Rhetorical Flourishes

I. DEBATES: WHAT IF THEY DISAGREE?

I.1 Causality Debates

I.2 Equality Debates

I.3 Policy Debates

PART 3. STAT-SPOTTING ON YOUR OWN

J. SUMMARY: COMMON SIGNS OF DUBIOUS DATA

K. BETTER DATA: SOME CHARACTERISTICS

L. AFTERWORD: IF YOU HAD NO IDEA THINGS WERE THAT BAD, THEY PROBABLY AREN’T

M. SUGGESTIONS FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO CONTINUE STAT-SPOTTING

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

NOTES

INDEX

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"An ideal guide for anyone who reads a newspaper, watches television, or surfs the Web.
In short, everyone."—Numeracy

"Offers an eye-opening field guide to identifying problematic data and concludes by calling for better statistics."—Nacada Journal

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